28 Sep sales reps must manage the brand ME, INC
Apple spent more than a billion dollars building their brand last year (“billion” with a “b”). Incredible, right? Amazing when you consider that the company is not exactly unknown! What’s more interesting is the way that they protect their brand. Every message. Every commercial. Every brochure. Every product. Every press release. Each is a carefully orchestrated exercise in building one of the most powerful brands in the world. Celebrities and other public figures sometimes employ dozens of individuals to manage their personal brands. Their brand building is critical to staying in good graces with the public and their fans and therefore, their paychecks.
Again, carefully orchestrated press releases, public appearances, project selections, and relationships are reviewed and executed (many times) flawlessly to maximize the value of the brand. One need to look no further than the President of the US to understand the power of personal branding. Forget politics (that’s a debate for another forum), the Presidential election of 2008 was one of the greatest, most effective marketing campaign that the country has ever seen. The use of social media, celebrity endorsements, co-branding the name Obama and the word “change”, and carefully orchestrated appearances produced the leader of the free-world. Why do major corporations, political figures, and A-list celebs include branding as one of the largest line items in their budget? Is it because they like to spend money frivolously? Is it because in all their experience and with some of the greatest business minds in the world at their disposal they are simply hoping real hard that they made the right move? Of course not. What can we, as individuals, learn from the largest organizations and most influential celebs in the world? Easy, spend a billion dollars on marketing. Perfect. Don’t have a billion? Time for Plan B. One of the most critical aspects of personal success and achievement is managing your personal brand. Sales reps, upwardly mobile middle managers, and small business entrepreneurs must take great care in managing ME, INC. ME, INC is just as important as every one of the brands represented on the Fortune 500. You have to believe that. It is imperative that you buy into this concept. You may not employ 10,000 people or run the most powerful country in the world or make $20 million per film, but the ramifications of mismanaging your brand are no less detrimental to you, personally, and for those that count on you. Conversely, the upside to building a world-class personal brand has an incredible impact not only on your bottom line, but on your future potential. ME, INC has the potential to be a juggernaut in your industry – it doesn’t matter what industry that is. Here’s the greatest part: you are in complete control of ME, INC. CEOs of Fortune 500 envy the power that you have to make changes, take risks, and develop strategies. CEOs have to beg for that kind of power in front of a board of directors. You have the power to make things happen quickly! 7 Ways to Market “ME, INC.” Better as a Sales Rep 1. Recognize that you have a personal brand for ME, INC. Whether you know it or not. Better build a good one! 2. Your brand is like a bank account. There are deposits and withdrawals. Every great sale adds value to your brand (a deposit). Every positive thing you do, every positive conversation, every coaching effort you put in to newer reps, every smile, every lead YOU generate FOR a partner or customer is a deposit. Negativity, whining, excuses, lack of activity, and questionable ethic moves are withdrawals. Here’s the kicker… Numerous deposits can be wiped out with a single withdrawal. DON’T OVERSPEND! 3. Consider investing in your own marketing materials, perhaps a logo even. Crazy? Not really. Companies spend money on marketing every day because it adds value. Creating a personal brand represented on personal letterhead, creative business cards, memorable leave-behinds could pay major dividends and improve your prospects’ perception of you. Some companies are horrible at marketing. If you work for one of them and you don’t invest, who will? Your income suffers. Are you okay with that? Sometimes companies need direction from an innovative employee. Many will pay the costs if the idea makes sense. Sell them. 4. Consider outsourcing busy work to maximize revenue generation time. Iconic works with many successful sales reps that have found that generating leads is more efficiently done by experts. Can they prospect? Of course they can. It’s inefficient for them. Our clients regularly receive a 400-500% return on investment. Great sales reps need to stay in front of clients. Outsourcing makes sense when the ROI warrants it. 5. As crazy as it sounds, some reps are not on LinkedIn and Facebook! Come on, guys! Facebook allows you to set up a separate account for a business for free. One note, make it look GOOD! Put some time into it, simply putting your name and e-mail is insufficient. Making LinkedIn a resume only tells your prospects that you are looking to jump ship. Join some industry groups, give your company a plug, and make it look like you are engaged and passionate. Believe me, people look at this stuff. 6. Old school… send an e-mail after every sales meeting, a hand written card during the holidays, and if you come across info that was brought up in your conversation with the prospect, call or e-mail the client. Sending a link to a press clipping about their business or a suggestion for a restaurant that you just ate of a food that the two of you discussed in the meeting is a great opportunity to bond where your competitors probably are not. Major deposits to your brand bank account! 7. Develop an informal buying group and/or social network. Don’t miss one of your job’s major built in advantages. You see people all day, every day. Many times, you are working across industries and you meet decision makers in numerous companies. Get people connected. Take a diverse foursome out for a round of golf. Host a networking function. At the very least, keep your contacts handy, listen to your prospects, remember your prospects’ business models, and look for opportunities to connect your customers. Call them while you are in their office and introduce them. If you can create a network of buyers and sellers with one commonality (you), think about how they will be discussing you during their conversation. Take a step back. Think about your brand. You have one. The question is, is it helping you or hurting you. What would your competitors, partners, bosses, and customers say about it? Be realistic, this is important. Is it time for a change in the marketing strategy at ME, INC.?